Tom Ford - Executive Director
Tom Ford is the Executive Director of, The Bay Foundation, the Director of the Santa Monica Bay National Estuary Program, and Co-Director of the Coastal Research Institute at Loyola Marymount University. As part of his engagement at Loyola Marymount University Tom is part time faculty teaching environmental science at the Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering. Tom holds a M.A. from UCLA in Marine Ecology and a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island in Biology. Tom has been engaged in the study and restoration of kelp forests since he moved to LA in 1998. Other current projects include aerial mapping of boats, abalone genetics and disease risk management, sea urchin gonad indices development, coastal climate change vulnerability and resilience, and SCUBA based biological monitoring of Marine Protected Areas. In addition, Tom serves on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Marine Institute, Joint Strategic Advisory Committee for the Southern, Central-Northern California Coastal Ocean Observing System, and Association of National Estuary Programs. Tom has dedicated thousands of hours to understanding and correcting sources of pollution in Los Angeles; influencing national and international policies and practices that benefit the environment and public health.
Tom’s diverse background spans the Atlantic seaboard where his research on sea turtles involved nesting beaches, aerial surveys and coastal dredging projects. As a commercial shell fisherman in Rhode Island, he developed his deep appreciation for the working landscapes that our coastal waters comprise. Tom and his family live in Santa Monica where they spend their free time surfing and exploring the beaches of Los Angeles County.
Heather Burdick - Director of Marine Operations, Executive Assistant
Heather Burdick supports the Marine Team on various projects involving research, monitoring and ecological restoration. She has worked on restoration and water quality projects throughout the Santa Monica Bay watershed since 2005 including the Palos Verdes Kelp Restoration Project, Aerial Monitoring of Ocean Vessels, and southern California abalone recovery efforts. Heather earned her B.S. in Environmental Science with a concentration in Conservation Biology from UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. When she’s not diving below the waves you can find her exploring the beaches and mountains of California.
Karina Johnston - Science Director
Karina Johnston is the Science Director for The Bay Foundation, and the Director of Programs for the Coastal Research Institute at LMU. Through both positions, Karina conducts research, develops and implements projects, and manages grants. Her efforts to restore and monitor the Bay span from the watershed to the ocean. Karina frequently works on research and scientific monitoring projects in partnership with other faculty and is a Senior Lecturer in LMU’s Environmental Science department. She earned her M.S. in Marine Ecology at James Cook University in Australia and her B.S. in Aquatic Biology with a minor in Geology from UC Santa Barbara. Karina is a Board Certified Environmental Scientist, with a Biology specialty. Recently, she served as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Academy of Sciences.
Marcelo Villagomez - Administrative Director
Marcelo Villagomez completed his B.A. in International Political Economy at the University of California, Berkeley, and earned a Master’s degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Public Administration (MPA) with a focus in high performance management in the public and non-profit sectors. Marcelo has helped multiple non-profit organizations grow and have mission impact in the varied fields of childhood adoption and foster care, family and children’s health, community clinics, and immigrant and human rights. Marcelo has also been an international elections observer. As Administrative Director, Marcelo is currently managing the administrative functions of the organization. His efforts include focusing on ongoing improvements in management and strengthening the organization’s financial and human capital to achieve mission critical long-term objectives.
Ben Grime - Marine Programs Project Manager
Ben Grime joined The Bay Foundation in March 2016 as the Abalone Lab Technician. He received his B.A. in Marine Biology from Occidental College in 2013 and is currently working on his M.S. in Biology from Cal Poly Pomona. His graduate studies are focusing on green and red abalone aquaculture method development and wild population restoration. Ben has previously worked as a research technician for the Vantuna Research Group, Channel Islands National Park, and the Southern California Marine Institute. In his spare time he enjoys playing soccer and walking his dog Leo.
Julie Du Brow - Communications Specialist
Julie Du Brow is the Communications Director for The Bay Foundation. As Principal for dubroWORKS PR+Marketing firm since 2002, she specialized in local / regional / national campaigns for non- and for-profits in the fields of sustainability & environment, architecture & design, the arts, and technology, including start-ups. Prior to that, Julie spent 16 years in the music industry, variously as Marketing Director to an independent label, Product/Artist manager to global multi-platinum bands, and Production & Inventory Director for Capitol Records. She is on the Steering Committee for the U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles Chapter’s Westside Branch, and serves on the Board of the Nonprofit Communications and Media Network. Julie is a native Angelena, and has a B.A. in Communications from UCLA.
Chris Enyart - Watershed Programs Project Manager
Chris Enyart joined The Bay Foundation in January 2018. He received his B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology from Cal State University, Channel Islands in 2015 and his M.S. in Environmental Science from Loyola Marymount University in 2018. His graduate thesis research examined long-term recreational beach water quality in Santa Monica Bay. In his free time, Chris enjoys being outdoors, playing ice hockey, and hanging out with his Pug and two Pitbull mixes.
Victoria Gambale - Community Engagement Program Manager
Victoria Gambale received her B.S. in Marine Biology from Roger Williams University where she conducted research on the giant clam. Victoria came to The Bay Foundation after receiving a M.S. in Fisheries Science with a minor in Environmental Science from Louisiana State University. Victoria’s graduate research focused on oyster production methods for the commercial industry. She now works to improve the water quality of Santa Monica Bay through the Boater Education, Clean Bay Certified, and Table to Farm Composting programs. She recently spoke on oysters for TEDxLSU. In her spare time Victoria enjoys swimming, hiking and SCUBA diving.
Karina Alvarez - Watershed Programs Field Technician
Karina Alvarez joined The Bay Foundation in January 2020 as a Watershed Programs Field Technician. She received her B.S. in Environmental Science from Loyola Marymount University in 2017 and will receive her M.S. in Global Change Ecology with an emphasis in Ecology from the University of Bayreuth. Her graduate thesis explored the effects of wildfires on ocean water quality in Southern California using MODIS. In her free time, Karina enjoys running, reading, and traveling.
Nick Pilaud - Watershed Programs Field Technician
Nick Pilaud joined The Bay Foundation in July 2019 as a Watershed Programs Field Technician. He received his B.S. in Environmental Science from Loyola Marymount University in 2019. His undergraduate thesis investigated management methods for the invasive tumbleweed, known as prickly Russian thistle, that could also serve to promote useful microhabitats for wildlife. In his free time, Nick enjoys practicing mixed martial arts and hiking.
Rilee Sanders - Marine Programs Coordinator
Rilee Sanders joined The Bay Foundation in December 2019 as the Marine Programs Coordinator. He received his B.S. in Environmental Studies and Marine Biology from the University of Southern California in 2018. He remained at USC to complete his master’s degree in 2019, which focused on the impacts of boat anchoring fragmentation on eelgrass habitats on Catalina Island. Rilee has previously worked as a biological fisheries diver for Channel Islands National Park and as a research fellow for the Wrigley Institute. In his free time, you can find Rilee surfing, backpacking, climbing or exploring all that California has to offer.
Dalia Gonzalez - Community Engagement Coordinator
Dalia Gonzalez is focused on supporting the Boater Education Program by coordinating pollution prevention projects. She received her B.A. in Environmental and Physical Geography from Cal State University, Long Beach. Prior to joining The Bay Foundation, she conducted waste reduction and recycling education as an intern for the City of Long Beach. Dalia has also worked with several organizations that aim to reduce the environmental and social impacts of greenhouse gas emissions derived from landfills. In her free time, Dalia enjoys going to botanical gardens and listening to her small but mighty vinyl collection.
Georgia Tunioli - Community Engagement Coordinator
Georgia Tunioli is focused on implementing pollution prevention and educational programs to create more sustainable boating and restaurant communities. Prior to joining The Bay Foundation, she worked with the Center for Biological Diversity and its Clean Air Cities Campaign and served as Content Manager at TheKindLife.com. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science and B.A. International Relations with a concentration in Sustainable Development from the University of Redlands.
Scott Valor - Governmental Affairs Consultant
As Director of External Affairs, Scott Valor’s activities focus on communicating with and educating local, state and federal government entities regarding The Bay Foundation projects and priorities, as well as monitoring pending local, state, and federal legislative and regulatory issues. Scott previously worked in the California State Legislature where he was chief consultant to the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and senior consultant to the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials. His work emphasized the protection of water quality and coastal resources. Scott graduated from Hastings College of the Law in 1991. Prior to working in the legislature, he practiced law in the hazardous waste management, water quality, and air quality fields. Scott also taught environmental law and policy courses for five years in the Environmental Studies Department at San Jose State University.